Evening is the best family time, isn’t it? Relax and enjoy well-deserved family time! But what about settling down the kids before bed.. tricky?
We’ve picked 20 activities from our PlayMama App you can play with your babies, toddlers and young children that still allow you quality bonding time whilst soothing calming them down before bed!
Main rule: activities should be repetitive and involve medium concentration.
Should NOT: be active with motor activity, intense & excitable and certainly no headstands or roly poly’s!
1. Arranging the toys aka Tiding up the room
This game is great for calming down your child at the end of a busy day or trip outdoors, AND it not only teaches them with a learning game, it tidies the room too! Just offer your child to choose which box they want to fill – the box with soft toys or the box with stationary (and avoid competitive spirit… if you can!)
From making paper plates into a butterflies or sticking leaves from the garden into a scrap book – whatever is less mess that is fun and gives Mother and child quality time together. Why not make something for the teddies as a present they can give them before bed.
3. Lying Down, Feet Up!
If your child is an active one then sometimes lying down can be very beneficial for them. For the best effect, lie down on the floor side by side and lift your legs up to the wall or bed. 5 minutes in this position is very calming in effect. Doubt they can stay there for 5 minutes? You can look up to the ceiling and build dreams together…
Whatever is the age of your baby or child, there is always a drawing experience you can do together!
0 – 1 year old: Finger painting or pastel pens whatever is suitable for you and your child, share this activity and watch and learn how they progress.
1 – 2 years old: A great opportunity to bond and help your babies skills -just sit your baby on your lap and start drawing basic shapes on a piece of paper holding their hand in yours. Comment on everything you’re drawing: from just a circle or triangle, or a house or a snake!
2+ years: Drawing can become a real game at this age if you’re trying to guess what your child’s drawn or you let them start the image so that you finalise it for them.
This is a really relaxing activity for Mums and babies – try this for winding down after a busy day, mums – oh, and for baby too!
Exciting and quiet time – looking at family photos and they can learn about happy family stories. Why not use a tablet or a phone?
6. Creating a story together
One more idea to practice creativity before going to sleep..start the story and ask your child to continue. Doing one paragraph each means more variation and excitement but go easy on making it too funny as hysterics wont help sooth! Or maybe laughter is the joy that will make you both happy!
7. Building blocks
If your child is neglecting their building blocks, revive them with a new game and use the blocks to make something for their toys.
Anyone can make a simple tower, but why not make it Rapunzel’s tower and sit a doll at the top? He could make a big cave for all his toy animals to sleep in or build a garage for his toy cars. There’s so many things they could build for their toys and don’t forget their beds for when they’re tired out from all the playing!
If child roleplay games and making characters really work with your child’s imagination choose this one! Have the light on medium in the room and a tent you’ve made. To entertain your child and encourage them to spend some time in there, you can share a supper of fruits together and “feed” some toys too.
That’s a fantastic activity to wind down after the stress of the day. Not only for your child but for you too. A therapeutic effect. Have you tried it yet?
10. Making a list for tomorrow
If the challenge arises when your child’s in bed, then there is always spontaneous ideas to tune your child in for tomorrow morning. Tell him what he or she is going to do tomorrow morning even if this is a normal routine. Processing the things in their minds actually helps their brain to calm down.
And don’t forget to mention that tomorrow requires them to be fully rested in order to have energy for all of those things!!
11. Reading a book
What’s your favourite? In case your child’s not interested in listening to a book, you can always enjoy the book you love with an excuse that this is a quality time you’re having with your child
Let your child help you to prepare the evening milk with honey or whatever they prefer. Encourages independent skills and soothes the nerves (even yours after a busy day!
13. Body painting (with a good reason to wash and brush before bed!)
Body painting instead of face painting is less sensory therefore excites less. You or other siblings can practice their art skills by painting simple images on the child’s arms or legs. Then of course showering becomes mandatory and will calm them down!
14. Remembering the events of the day
Remembering what has happen today is a good game to practice your child’s memory skills and also, to teach them how to appreciate the positive moments. Actually more a life hack in the hope your child is grateful to you later on in life!
15. Activity books
Mazes, Spot The Difference, counting, quizzes, cross-words… all of that is helpful in the evening as long as it prevents your child from running & jumping around!
16. Colouring books
Yes we all know that tip. And know that the main challenge here is to make your happy child sit down (behave!) and start …and don’t forget this helps them at school, general progression and great skills! Good luck.
17. Washing toys in the bath
18. Prepare tomorrow’s clothes choice!
Most of us mothers know getting dressed in the morning especially before school can sometimes be a struggle! Even if there is no big choice needed for tomorrows clothes, it’s a nice procedure to talk about tomorrow, the weather, the plan for the day etc. Good practice of organisation for your little one!
19. Dressing up the toys and laying them to sleep
Switch into a quiet soothing voice as the toys are sleeping…
20. Having a nap with your child
We could not miss this in order to sooth you both, no-one will blame you if you nod off for 5 after all the wind-down time! Sleep helps your survive in your parenting life whatever the age of your child – newborn baby or not.
Where can I find more of these games?
Our passion is providing easy, realistic apps as solutions for busy mothers and our PlayMama App is a one-stop-shop to help you develop your child’s skills and this is a taster – our app has over 60 learning games in each app and tracks the most important 7 keys skills newborns! Lite versions are out now with ages 0-1 years, 1-2 years and 2-4 years! Download free here.
What is your little ones favourite bedtime book or game? Tell us below Mums!